Welcome to Imerys Performance Additives Division

Diatomaceous Earth

What is diatomaceous earth?

Diatomaceous earth rock

Diatomaceous earth (DE) is a mineral silica that has an elaborate structure worked by nature into a labyrinth of tiny holes. No other silica source, whether mined or artificially produced, has such a structure. Each diatom is peppered with thousands of holes ranging from a few microns in diameter down to submicron diameters. The number and size of these holes vary with the species. It is the combination of the composition of natural silica, the structure of its diatom particles, and of the network of holes in that structure, that confers the unique properties of these multi-functional mineral products.


Diatomaceous earth is a sedimentary rock composed of the prehistoric skeletal remains of single-cell aquatic plants called diatoms. Most are fossilized and were deposited in the Miocene period, some 15 million years ago. Some deposits are saltwater but most are from freshwater sources. The profusion of shapes results in an extremely low density diatomaceous earth powder, with excellent filtration characteristics.

Physical properties

SEM photograph diatomaceous earth
  • Unique 3D morphology and micro porosity
  • 90% silica content
  • High surface area and high absorption power
  • Low specific and bulk density
  • Chemically inert
  • Hard
  • Personal Care
  • Personal Care

    Diatomite based powders offer high absorbency power. They are ideal for sweat and odor absorption in deodorants and antiperspirants and for providing sebum absorption and a matte effect in creams, face powders and make-up.

    Learn more
    Woman applying deodorant

For other markets please visit Imerys Filtration.